Platinum End vol. 5 – Tsugumi Ohba

3 out of 5

There are a lot of interesting new wrinkles in volume five, along with a very Obha-y quirky character addition, though these elements help to underline what’s preventing the series from transitioning from entertaining to addictive: it’s… too black and white. I realize Light and L in Death Note were fairly one note representations on their relative sides of the good and evil paradigm, but within those representations there was depth, as represented by the believable way Light’s personality shifted upon his memory loss. Here, everyone just sort of operates very cleanly and clearly by their stated purposes, and that carries over to their plans: we can rely on Kanade’s Metropoliman machinations to amount to killing off other candidates; we can rely on Mirai to be pretty wholesome and stand in Kanade’s way.

That said, if Ohba continues to bring the aforementioned wrinkles forward, Platinum End could develop more gripping narrative developments: in volume 5, Saki encourages Revel to obtain wings for her; Nanato is pushed to the brink to protect his family; and Mirai’s opportunity to test his white arrow abilities are also tested. And new god-candidate character Hajime – whose twisted background has led him down a similar twisty path of self-image obsession, and now dedication to Metropoliman – is a fun ante up to the formula, though, again, this needs time to see if Ohba’s going to do anything with it or drop it.

Some of Obata’s work here is, as usual, stunning – the stylistic choices he takes with Hajime; the settings / backgrounds – but the showdown that takes place in the collection’s final chapter is a bit confusing, and character’s descriptions about what’s happening don’t feel like they quite match up with the visuals.